A portrait can be painted on a tiny canvas. Two green sparkling eyes, a hot pink nose, lips of bright red smiling on a long white Band-aid canvas tape. A long neck a white turtleneck and a lovely crocheted picture hat tied to the top of her head with a satin red and green ribbon around the crown of the hat, and a red flower pinned to the ribbon. May I introduce you to Little Miss Pinky Finger? She is an important member of my family.
She is my right pinky finger. I am right-handed, and I seldom use my left hand. Sometimes I paint for 17 hours with the right hand without stopping. I definitely need and use my right hand daily to create a painting.
The sun had set on Feb. 19, 2012, and the time was 8:30 p.m. I went outside to the garbage and flipped on the light on the porch. I opened up the back door and carefully walked down the brick steps. I held tightly to the black iron railing going down the steps.
On the way back up, I missed and step and skipped the other six steps and found myself in a slipping movement and landed on my right pinky finger. Have you ever heard the song, “Skip To My Lou”? I danced up the steps that night and fell in an instant. My mind was a million miles away thinking of a painting I wanted to paint, and I forgot to hold onto the bottom of the railing. It was my fault.
I felt excruciating pain in my pinky that was bent forwards. I knew that I had fallen on the right outside joint. The end of my finger had taken the fall, and I could feel blood dripping from my right knee also. I almost crawled up the remaining steps into the back screen door turning the old wooden back door and made my way to our bedroom to wake up Frank. I said, “Frank, I think I have broken my pinky finger, but I can still move it.” I tried to calm down, took my shower, put on my warm flannel pajamas, filled my water bag with ice cubes and crawled into bed. I closed my eyes and fell asleep.
I slept until 3 a.m. I woke up to a swollen, sore finger. Frank and I got dressed and went to the emergency room. In the silent quietness of the dark night we walked into the automatic doors. We felt alone. We checked in and walked down the hall through large doors into a patient’s room. I sat on the edge of an examining bed. Sweet Dr. Shaw appeared and said, “Let’s X-ray your pinky and give you a tetanus shot for the scrap on your knee.” He returned quickly and said, “You’ve broken your pinky. We’ll put a splint on it and you go early tomorrow to your orthopedic surgeon. You’ll be fine in six weeks. I hugged Dr. Shaw and thanked him. As I looked up at the stars in the darkness of early morning, I whispered, “Am I falling apart? Have I reached old age? I don’t think I am going to like this stage of life.”
When 8 a.m. arrived Frank and I headed to see Dr. Allen Butler, an orthopedic surgeon. He was already in surgery over in West Point. I saw sweet Maggie Fair, a nurse. We together looked at the x-rays faxed by OCH. She said, “Carole, on the outside of your pinky is a tiny straight break. We are going to take you out of this splint and put your pinky into a Buddy System. We will take your fourth finger and tape it in two places to your pinky.” Maggie said, “I want to see some movement in that pinky finger next to its new best friend, the fourth finger. The saying, ‘If you don’t use it you lose it’ fits these two fingers for the next six weeks. I want your finger to have some movement and not to get stiff and frozen. It must move correctly and with ease in six weeks as you begin to use it again. This will be a piece of cake. Brian, a Technician whom I love very much quickly said, “Carole, you missed us up here on Hospital Road, so you just came back to see us again for another new six weeks!” Dr. Butler called back that day from West Point. Maggie said to him, “Carole has a broken pinky.”
I am completely right handed, and I create my paintings with this hand. I type on my computer as well. What am I going to do for the next six weeks? I desperately needed a healed pinky finger. “Why me God?” I asked. I had a decision to make, and I needed to answer a question in my own heart and soul. Would I keep fretting and blaming God for my accident or would I accept the blame and accept causing my own accident? I chose acceptance. I wiped the tears off of my cheeks. I was going to use the X mark each day to check off each day of the next six weeks, but I decided to not X off the days and just to let day after day pass and enjoy living each day with a smile and look forward to each minute.
I thought about our three grown children with families of their own and our six grandchildren. I thought about my parents, my brother and my friends, and I thought about my life.
We all form a Buddy System with each other every day we live. When I was a girl I used to go in the summer to our Camp Hopewell near Pontotoc. We used to sit around a campfire at night singing, “No Man Is An Island, No Man Stands Alone.” I looked down at my newest partners, my fourth and pinky fingers taped together, as my new best friends. I felt a peace and acceptance of the accident. I was now not alone. I have wonderful family and friends. There is a higher being looking down from Heaven, and He is holding me in the palm of His hand.
Little Miss Pinky Finger has a buddy for the next six weeks to help her heal. I also thought that time for me right now, and the next six weeks this time would heal everything. Time heals the sting of death. I loved my parents, and it took time to heal their loss in my life. I’ll never quite get over their deaths. I have learned to cherish and honor the memories of what they meant to me. I had to pick myself up and brush myself off.
I saw on a tiny piece of medical white canvas tape a possible creation. The portrait of Little Miss Pinky Finger was suddenly conceived.
Let’s look at her now. Two green eyes were two dots with a sparkle of black made them come alive. She has one cute turned up hot pink nose which is another dot, and a red-red lipstick turned up smiling mouth. Two pieces of thin white tape connect these now two buddies together between the joined fingers. Miss Pinky Finger has a long, elegant neck and the second taped piece is her stylish white t-shirt. Of course she had to have on a beautiful crocheted picture hat that is a large picture hat that adds her very Mississippi southern touch. You always tip a big hat or even a small hat to one side as if that hat is saying, “Howdy!” See and hear how a hat will chat with you. Look closely to my five fingers and one hand that I am extending to you now in this photo. See my exquisite 1800’s Victorian cameo ring on my third finger? She was my early 70th birthday gift from my husband, Dr. Frank Marvin Davis Sr. I love my new antique ring because I admire antiques.
We found this lovely ring a week before my March 4 birthday in Columbus in a quaint antique shop there. I fell in love with her, and I named her Miss Priscilla Pearson. I had to have Priscilla, and I am proud of my new antique ring.
I am wearing a pink outfit with a Victorian headband hat filled with bows of many rainbow colors. Find the one curly bright yellow wide ribbon and one big red rose worn tilted to the side, which says, “How are y’all today?” On my left shoulder is a matching corsage, which is my signature piece to tie in with the headband hat.
The background for the portrait is in the dark Magnolia leaves of the tree near our bedroom window. Soon when I open up our wide white shutters each morning to face the day in late April and early May I get to see the majestic Magnolia blossoms in bloom. I am so happy that the pure white Magnolia is our state flower. The soft gray mockingbird is our state bird.
I just saw a few days ago out of a bedroom a pretty and spunky Mocking Bird nibbling on a Holly Berry. I am grateful to have been born a Mississippian. Both the magnolia and the mockingbird represent us well.
Accidents happen. We all must keep on trucking. Our greatest treasures are our families and our friends. We all form a buddy system with each other. We all have an organized cooperation at first as individuals for mutual help for our safety. People become our allies in positions who love and influence our lives. We are never alone in this thing called life.
I thank my husband Frank for putting up with me. He is “St. Frank!!” I want to thank each of you for viewing my paintings and reading my stories weekly.
I went to see Maggie on March 12 to have Little Miss Pinky Finger checked and an x-ray taken, and when Maggie came back, she had a smile on her beautiful face with her blue eyes sparkling, saying, “You can say goodbye to your Buddy System.” My heart skipped a beat. Maggie said the healing of my finger continues for six more weeks, but I would be fine now. I asked, “Will I still have a crook at the end of the finger?” She said, “Probably, but you won’t lose your nail.” I thanked Maggie and hugged her. I looked down at my finger and said goodbye to my Buddy System. I have a feeling that I will always look down at my two fingers as if they were best friends. The 5th finger will be looking up at me saying, “How are you today?” I’ll see her winking at me, and her portrait is gone forever, but she will be with me in my thoughts.
Carole McReynolds Davis is a local artist. Email her firstname.lastname@example.org .